A little over one year ago, Granville remodeled the former Jerry’s Deli space across from Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Since I’m familiar with this mini-chain restaurant in Burbank, Studio City and Glendale, I was excited to join some friends for dinner in West Hollywood a couple weeks ago.
Noticing all the tables along the sidewalk dining patio were occupied, I entered the white interior dining area and noticed it was filled with natural lighting, plants and tall trees in square planter boxes placed near comfortable booths and wood tables.
Granville’s president Jonathan Weiss welcomed me and led me to the back dining area with a retractable roof allowing fresh air and star gazing in the evening. He shared how this restaurant’s design is different than any of the other locations, “It’s kind of an anti-chain approach.” Gone is the deli decor, and now it’s more elegant and modern.
Granville started in 2004 as Weiss and Executive Chef Glenda Galvan-Garcia started working together to open the first Granville in Burbank. While the restaurant industry was changing at that time, they wanted to bring “a more affordable luxury with approachable price points” to the community. Locals immediately embraced its concept as Glenda’s menu grew into a wide variety of boldly-flavored recipes including gourmet burgers and sandwiches, colorful salads, daily soups, innovative flatbreads, creamy pastas, as well as big protein plate entrees. They also provided an up and coming artisan craft beer menu, along with specialty wines, premium spirits, organic coffees, teas and desserts that inspired people to return.
Weiss told me their research and development for these dishes consisted of visiting restaurants all over So Cal from Burbank down to Laguna Beach to discover fabulous fad foods that Glenda could elevate.
Since my friends have a variety of dietary requirements with some vegetarians, a few vegans, and the rest of us were ready to discover something new, I was pleased with the diverse menu options.
We each ordered a cocktail or glass of wine to sip with a few of the first course dishes. The Ginny Hendricks is a gin based drink with muddled strawberries, cucumbers, mint, jalapeño, and chipotle-pineapple. It paired nicely with Rockenwagner Bakery fresh rye marble bread topped with a smoked salmon spread and chopped chives on top.
The Gran Fashioned is a bourbon based cocktail mixed with housemade cherry-vanilla bitters, angostura & orange bitters, molasses, and port cherry. This paired nicely with the butter lettuce cups topped with chopped mango, avocado, tomato, slaw and an Asian flavored lemongrass vinaigrette. Some were filled with chicken, others with cooked shrimp, grilled steak or tempeh.
The frothy gin based White Lady cocktail offered a cloud of egg whites, lemon juice, and splash of orange liqueur. It went well with the gourmet melted three cheese sandwich cut in dipping shapes to dunk into a bowl of comforting tomato bisque. The crisp grilled bread had layers of creamy petit basque, gruyere, and parmesan cheese topped with caramelized onions, a swipe of mustard and garlic aioli.
Next we ordered from the section on the menu titled – Come As You Are, selecting the Uptown Mac & Cheese made with aged cheddar and gruyere sauce poured over pasta shells, chunks of chicken, and “eat your green vegetable” asparagus and peas.
The chefs make a variety of flatbreads that include a savory chicken and blue cheese with fontina, diced figs, prosciutto, pine nuts and red onions. I really enjoyed this with a pour of the Curran rosé made in 2017 from Grenache Gris grapes. It’s a Santa Barbara County rosé that offers juicy, candied fruit notes with a crisp and dry finish.
The vegetarians at the table raved about the toasted flatbread slices served with a jar of housemade hummus enhanced with lemon, crunchy pine nuts and earthy artichoke. They also found comfort in the farro and mushroom risotto with a drizzle of salsa verde. For protein one could add tempeh, chicken, shrimp, steak, or salmon.
When Weiss approached our table, he said he had to pay homage to Jerry’s Deli when he took over this location, so they make a Westside pastrami sandwich on Rockenwagner artisan marble rye, with slightly melted and gooey Swiss cheese, a layer of pickled cabbage, beautiful dark red pastrami with black edges, a smear of slightly nose tingling horseradish aioli and spicy brown mustard. It’s served with a long dill pickle slice and crackling homemade potato chips. It sure earned my approval and won me over.
Larger entrees delivered to our table included a spicy chicken plate topped with a bright orange colored peri peri sauce, on a bed of lemon cous-cous and topped with toasted almonds. It was served with a crunchy and colorful slaw. The peri peri sauce perked up the grilled chicken with a garlicky, slightly spicy, lemony and tangy flavor.
Another full flavored dish was the cajun rubbed, thick 12 oz. bone-in pork chop served with a sweet and tart cranberry-mango compote. The Yukon Russet potato mashed potatoes tasted just like my Aunt Barbara’s and brought back fond memories of family meals together.
The beef they prepare at Granville is certified humane, antibiotic and hormone free. They make a tender skirt steak that went well with a glass of Pinot Noir Decoy by Duckhorn. It’s a wine from Sonoma Count that exhibits classic aromas of cherry and plum with hints of cola and clove. Each sip had a bright acidity with an elegant finish.
We ended the evening with a Devil’s Advocate flourless chocolate cake topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting and ruby red port cherries on top. This was served with a glass of my new favorite Cabernet Sauvignon by Fortnight. This Napa Valley garnet red colored wine offers notes of sour cherry, black fig, cedar and baking spices. With one sip I relished the velvety and complex medium bodied semi-sweetness with mild tannins.
Granville’s success has encouraged Weiss and his team to branch out to Pasadena with a fifth location to open on South Lake Avenue by the end of the year. This location will be the first to offer rooftop “globally-inspired” dining during lunch, weekend brunch and dinner. $$ 8701 Beverly Blvd. (424)522-5161. 807 Americana Way, Glendale (818)550-0472; 121 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank (818)848-4726; and 12345 Ventura Blvd., Studio City (818)506-7050.
This review was featured in the Beverly Press on Sept. 6, 2018.